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Leadership Breaking new ground on children’s rehabilitation

Robynne Anderson says the centre, which will house 14 separate agencies, including children’s rehab, will be a ‘great, great gift.’

JOHN WOODS/The Globe and Mail

The Donor: Robynne Anderson

The Gift: $20,000

The Cause: Specialized Services for Children and Youth in Winnipeg

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The Reason: To help develop a rehabilitation centre for children with special needs

About 10 years ago, businesswoman Robynne Anderson became involved with a local charity near her home in Winnipeg called the Rehabilitation Centre for Children.

The centre provides a variety of services for children with disabilities and special needs but like many organizations offering similar care, resources were spread across the city.

For years, the rehab centre and other agencies tried to find a place where many of these services could be provided in one location, sparing families the ordeal of traveling to more than a dozen places.

Ms. Anderson shared that vision and when she sold her business, an agricultural publication, a few years ago she donated $10,000 to help make it happen.

That gift helped kick-start a campaign that has finally culminated in construction of a building that will soon house 14 separate agencies, including children's rehab.

The Manitoba government is contributing $17-million to the project, known as Specialized Services for Children and Youth, and the centre is raising another $5-million through donations. The building is expected to be completed in 2015 and will be able to accommodate 30,000 visits annually.

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Ms. Anderson, who now runs another agriculture-related business called Emerging Ag, has recently given a second gift of $10,000. "When you consider the challenges that the kids face every day and that their parents face every day, the least we can do as agencies trying to assist them is overcome our challenges in terms of the structure of how we work," she said.

The centre "will be a great, great gift."

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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